Top Tips for Building a Shed

Follow these eight easy tips for building a garden shed that is full of function and brimming with style.

yellow shed with lawn chairs and planters in front

Begin by defining the function of your shed. Is it a place for potting and storing garden tools? Do you plan to park your lawn mower inside the shed? Is ample storage space a requirement? A well-planned garden shed will do all these things and more. And best of all—it doesn't need to be a massive structure to create valuable storage.

1. Pick Your Purpose

Or is your new garden shed an outdoor retreat for savoring a quiet cup of coffee or hosting outdoor gatherings? Maybe it will be the site for serving drinks during your next summertime party. Outfitted with comfortable chairs and a side table or two, a shed is a perfect backyard escape.

Start with a list of all the ways you would like to use your shed. Your list will be invaluable as you decide what size and style of shed you need.

2. Check Building Codes


Building codes vary by municipality. Check with your local authorities to learn more about adding a garden shed to your landscape. When inquiring about building codes, have a general size of your structure in mind so you can obtain information specific to your project.

3. Choose a Size

garden shed

Garden sheds do not have to be spacious to be handy. A shed that measures just 4x4 has ample space for storing long- and short-handled garden tools, containers and pots when they are not in use, and for protecting other garden essentials from the elements. If your space and budget allow, an 8x10 or 10x12 shed provides plenty of space, making the shed very versatile while not overwhelming the landscape.

4. Select a Site

Small garden after

The most used garden sheds are located close to the garden if storing tools and providing a place for potting is the shed's purpose. If your garden shed is for entertaining, situate it near a defined gathering spot in your landscape. A location near a patio or in the shade of an established tree will create a welcoming scene and encourage people to linger.

5. Choose Your Materials


Your options are limitless when it comes to choosing materials for your shed. A garden shed kit is a quick and easy way to gather all the necessary materials. Often competitively priced with buying all the shed components separately, kits offer remarkable convenience—especially for folks with limited building time. Expect to pay $1500 or more for a quality 8x10 shed kit.

Some of the most unique sheds are constructed using salvaged building materials. Old windows, cast-off barn boards, and once-discarded doors add instant age to a new shed. Visit salvage yards and flea markets for garden shed building materials.

6. Prepare the Site

red barn

In most areas, a basic gravel base will provide adequate support for a garden shed that has a simple framed wood floor. Simplify the process by choosing a site that is level or nearly level. Mark the shed outline and excavate the area 4 to 6 inches. Fill the excavated space with crushed gravel, leveling as necessary. Cover the gravel with landscape fabric.

7. Build It


Two skilled carpenters can build a simple 8x10 garden shed in a weekend. Sheds constructed using found or salvaged items take longer to build as modifications often need to be made to the existing shed plan to accommodate the unique features. Plan to spend 60 to 80 hours building a garden shed and finishing the exterior. Take time to invest in quality workmanship and you'll be rewarded with a shed that lasts for decades.

8. Go Inside


Building the floor, walls, and roof of a garden shed is only the first part of the building process. Add function to your structure by building shelving, potting areas, and tool storage bins inside your shed. A shed with organized storage is a welcoming place to work and will go a long way toward ensuring tools are accessible. Explore great storage ideas here.

Creative Ideas for Your Own She Shed

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